A few weeks ago we traveled over to the Highline Seatac Botanical Garden.  It is in a community that does not really appreciate it as it should.  There is but ONE person tending these gardens, searching desperately for volunteers to help.  I suggested she contact the Master Gardeners Association, as Master Gardeners are often looking for projects.  I hope she did that!  Here are some pictures I took.  I hope you enjoy them.

I have made the decision that this blog, being sadly neglected, will have a change in “focus”.  I don’t want it to just be left to hang in cyber-space, so no longer having the time or energy to give it the proper attention, I’ll just add enough to it to keep it active.

If I am involved in something “garden related”, I’ll post about it.  If not, perhaps I’ll say a few words about getting older from a gardeners perspective.  I no longer physically “garden”.  However, after a lifetime of gardening, studying about gardening (I’m a Master Gardener in both CT and NH), running the Garden Committee here in Horizon House, and being available for advice and the occasional lecture about gardening, it’s time for me to give myself a break.

I’m feeling guilty about not blogging…I’ve got to stop that.

So, here I am…80 years old and ready to start yet another “new” thing.  If you choose to stay with me, which I hope you do, you’ll be seeing a different (but maybe not) variety of Gardening Blog.  It will be more “talk and less action”!

Here it is the end of April, and I’m still procrastinating about writing here.  We’ve settled nicely into our new apartment and are enjoying it’s cozy ambience.

I’ve hung a tiny Hummingbird Feeder that has been totally ignored by the hummers I IMG_5049know are here.  The reason I put it up was that a hummer came right to the window, as they used to do in New Hampshire when the feeders were getting low.  I took it as a sign, and went right out and got a little feeder.  (It has to be small since it has to be removed when the window cleaner guys come.)  That’s OK.  At the present rate, even the tiny one is too big!!!

Earlier this week our Garden Committee sponsored a trip to the Weyerhauser campus to see the Rhododendron Garden and the Pacific Bonsai Museum (in Federal Way).

It was a fabulous trip.  I LOVED seeing the Bonsai.  I hope I’ll have the opportunity to spend even more time there in the future.


It’s been a long, and busy winter!

Between the holidays, being ill, moving to a different apartment, having the Horizon House Gardening Terraces closed due to constructionIMG_3637…I haven’t really had the “gumption” to write in my blog.  For that, I apologize!  I still don’t have a clue what I will write about, so bear with me.

All of my indoor plants survived the move, which is a good thing.  I’m hoping the light won’t be too different.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

I did manage to get to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in February.  As usual I attended the lectures.  They are usually what I go for anyway.  The displays are pretty, but crowded.  The lectures, on the other hand, offer lots of new information.  If they don’t satisfy my curiosity, I just leave and go to another!  Maybe it’s the Master Gardener in me?

I usually also manage to get myself to the fellow who sells the air-plants or tillandsia-1.  I have taken a liking to them.  They are easy to care for, and they like my windowsill.  Last year I got one in bloom and it generated many little “pups” which I shared with friends as “hostess gifts”…rather unusual and enjoyed, I hope!

I got another one this year, which was in bloom, but after a week or so, the bud dropped off before actually blooming.  I hope it still gives me “pups”.  I like being able to distribute them!

Well, there you have it.  My first post of 2016.  Sorry it took so long!!!!!

My book, “A Year in My New England Garden”, can be a wonderful way to share the fun of gardening with your friends and neighbors!Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.29.58 AM

The tiny stories will make you smile about the adventures of gardening in New England, while the calendar in every monthly chapter, will help ANY gardener-no matter WHERE they/you live!  It addresses gardening chores for the vast majority of the United States, except perhaps the deep south.

The book is primarily a gardening calendar with chores listed in a chronological manner so you’ll know exactly what to do, and WHEN!

It’s cost is less than $10.00, so it makes a great small gift, perfect for taking along for a hostess who loves gardening…or is still learning the “finer arts of a green thumb”!

I hope you’ll give it a try!

I bought a Christmas Cactus for myself!  It’s my gift to me.

I was grocery shopping at QFC here in Seattle and spied a small, profusely “budded” white Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii).  It was the only white one there.  I have never had one of those, and it looked healthy and ready to “pop”.  IMG_4454It only cost about $8.00 so I grabbed it and crossed my fingers that it would do well.  Generally, I don’t buy my plants at a grocery store, but this one looked so good, it became my exception.

None of the buds had opened at that time, so it appeared to be pure white.  WELL!  It’s a few days later and the buds are opening up rapidly.  The interior of the flowers are a very light pink, with a beautiful red stamen.  GORGEOUS!  It’s so pretty, I may just give it a name…but, I haven’t figured that out yet.-3-2

At any rate, this has become my new obsession.  I’ve got to find out how to keep it alive (first of all!), but just as important will be to keep it healthy and blooming in the future.  So, I’m on a quest.

Here is a page I found that does a very good job of telling you what to do, and  when.

While looking for information, I also found a page from the Chicago Botanic Gardens that adds to the “info bank”.

It appears that the soil should be kept damp.  However, the plant should only be watered when the top soil becomes dry.  What that says to me is that it should not be allowed to dry out-ever-but watering it too frequently is not a good idea.  Whenever it is watered, be sure the water drains out so the plant does not sit in water at any time.

It is an epiphitic plant which draws it’s requirements of water and nutrition from the air or rain while it is attached, harmlessly, to a host plant (probably a tree), rather like an orchid.

Since it originates from a rain forest, it should be shielded from bright, hot sun in the summertime.  Like us, it vulnerable to sunburn.  If it burns,  the leaves will turn yellow and most likely not set buds.  So, be careful to shield this plant from intense sunlight during it’s summer sojourn outside-or on the windowsill.

As I gain confidence with this plant, I’ll probably post more about it.  Now if I can only get my red Christmas cactus to bloom!!!!!

First, let me apologize for the long time between posts.  I went on a trip for a few weeks, and of course, it always takes a little while to get back into the swing of things.

Today I’m going to address my little aloe.  This is the first aloe I’ve ever had in my life, so I’m still learning about it.  Please, bear with me!

Shortly after I returned home, I burned my thumb removing a casserole from the oven.  This is a common occurrence, as any cook will tell you!  But, this time I remembered I had an aloe, and I had heard about the miracles of aloe “sap” on burns…and I HAD an aloe!!!  So, of course, I cut off a leaf (that in itself was a bit of a trauma-which to cut???) and proceeded to smear the sap on my throbbing thumb.  Hey!  It worked!  Not only did it relieve the sting, it coated the area almost like a little piece of plastic wrap.  Instant protection as well.  Wow!  What happens next, I wondered?

Whenever I washed my hands I re-smeared my thumb, cutting off a bit of the leaf to expose more juice (sap).

Then I thought I’d be adventuresome.  I had a (what I call “creeping crud” on my pinky.  It was a dry, and uncomfortable area that a doctor friend said could look like it could be psoriasis (NO claim to true diagnosis here!!!).  It had been bothering me for probably a month, spreading and getting progressively more red, dry and uncomfortable.  So, since I had all this aloe sap, I smeared that as well.  I have to tell you, after a few days of smearing…it’s GONE!

Now, don’t let me be the one to give all the credit to the aloe…but SOMETHING made that finger better!

And now, I need to give that aloe some attention.  Here are a few pictures of it.  (I also showed it back in August after I brought it inside.)  It’s still not very large, as you can see by the comparison to the faucet in my kitchen sink.   It had sprouted a few little offshoots after it’s summer sojourn outside, which you can see here.  If you compare them to this summer, you will see that they have grown quite a bit.

You will also notice something else if you look carefully at that cracked pot.  A few little roots are breaking through!  This pot did have a minor crack, but this is ridiculous!  I need to visit the potting room downstairs.

Plants can sometimes be a wonder, can’t they?

Karen Whalen

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